Unusual Transitional Fancy back Spoon

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dognose
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Unusual Transitional Fancy back Spoon

Postby dognose » Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:01 am

Hi,

I can't remember coming across a fancy back teaspoon of this design before, very similar to the 'shell and scroll' patten, but a single flower instead of the scroll.

Image Image
Image Image

It's top marked, but only struck with the two marks that you would expect to find on a bottom marked teaspoon such as this. It shows no signs of any additional worn marks.

Image

The Lion Passant appears to me as one of those used at Exeter, as identified by Miles in his article http://www.925-1000.com/a_exeterlions.html under the 'Anomalies' section, although I am uncertain as to if the base is wavy or there has been a slight distortion over the years.

Image


Presuming that it is indeed Exeter, then the maker would be Thomas Eustace and the dating between 1780-1784, outlining the shift between bottom marking and the addition of the Duty mark.

Other opinions would be welcomed. Also is the fancy back design unusual, or have I been walking around with blinkers on?

Trev.
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paulh
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Postby paulh » Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:14 pm

Hello Trev,

I have seen several Thomas Eustace and other Exeter pieces, with just the maker’s mark and the lion passant, often in that characteristic rectangular shield. I have also seen Joseph Hicks pieces in this format.

Paul.
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dognose
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Postby dognose » Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:22 am

Hi Paul,

Thanks for responding.

Yes, I'm sure, due to the popularity of small spoons from this assay office, that quite a lot must have survived from this period. This is the first time I have encountered this pattern and I wonder if it may have been peculiar to Exeter, and maybe to Eustace.

Have you come across such an example before?

Regards Trev.
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paulh
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Postby paulh » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:58 pm

Hello Trev,

this is one of those things which looks familiar until you try to figure out where you have seen it before. It doesn’t appear in any of my reference books and I certainly don’t have anything like it. The Exeter Museum’s excellent collection would be my first choice to find a spoon such as this.

Paul
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dognose
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Postby dognose » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:14 am

Hi Paul,

That's one place I must visit.

Thanks for checking your references.

Regards Trev.
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buckler
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Postby buckler » Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:08 am

Trev
I may be teaching the senior member of the family to suck eggs, but nearly all Museums have vast reserve collections of material not on display. If you contact the Exeter Museum a few days/weeks before a possible visit indicating your general area of interest you will undoubtedly be shown far more than you expect . And be allowed to handle it.

Be prepared for

Catalogue entries which are very inaccurate by modern standards. Many collections were catalogued pre Grimwade for example.

Having to accept that you may have to look at items supposedly not relevent , in case they have been wrongly described. You may kiss a few real frogs but turn up a princess.

Being asked to suggest amendments to their catalogue. With evidence !

Most curators are not silver specialists and come into two types - those that want to learn more and realise you can help and those that think they know far more than you. Identify which type you are dealling with before you upset the latter.

Being asked to vacate the area when no-one is available to supervise you - it's not an insult - it protects both you and the Musuem. I know one Musuem ,whose reserve material is in chaos,,who tend to leave you unattended at times . I will not go there now in case something gets lost by them and I get under suspicion.

The museum finding items you were not expecting, probably not even in their catalogue.
When I was researching the Silversmith and Jewelry invoices of the Prince of Wales/George IV the archivist found two documents whose survival was totally unknown to me - and worth far more to me than the material I'd come to see. I do not think she'd ever seen a fairly elderly gent whose eyes came out on stalks before.

Be prepared to have a make a second visit.
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dognose
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Postby dognose » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:53 pm

Hi Clive,

Many thanks for the sound advice.

As for sucking eggs, as has been seen in many of my posts, I'm often to be found swimming hopelessly out of my depth!

I'll be sure to take that trip to Exeter one day, but not this year, unfortunately they are closed for refurbishment until Spring 2010, but when I do go I'll be sure to remember your advice.

Regards Trev.
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Postby Granmaa » Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:50 am

Hi Trev,

Looking through my records of every fancy-back I have come across, I see that I've named this pattern Shell and Flower. There are two similar patterns: one with a shell and leaves with no flower, and another with a shell, scroll and a flower.

I have seen three of your pattern by James Wilkes, one by Nathaniel Underwood and one by Ben Cartwright. It's quite rare to find any Exeter fancy-back teaspoon.

Miles
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dognose
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Postby dognose » Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:25 pm

Hi Miles,

Shell and Flower, it is then. Thanks for checking that out, I've never come across this pattern before, but what's the betting, that before a month is out, another will crop up!

Regards Trev.
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mk209
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Re: Unusual Transitional Fancy back Spoon

Postby mk209 » Thu May 02, 2019 5:22 am

Another Thomas Eustace picture back teaspoon spoon:

Image

Image

It’s a worn ‘I love Liberty’ with bird cage. I’ve not seen many picture backs from Exeter.

Matt.

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Re: Unusual Transitional Fancy back Spoon

Postby dognose » Thu May 02, 2019 6:35 am

Hi Matt,

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Here's another topic regarding a 'I Love Liberty' spoon:

viewtopic.php?f=48&t=4143&p=7935

Trev.

mk209
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Re: Unusual Transitional Fancy back Spoon

Postby mk209 » Thu May 02, 2019 6:49 am

Interesting as the earliest this spoon can date from is 1773. An early Eustace piece for sure.

Thanks Trev for the extra info.

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Re: Unusual Transitional Fancy back Spoon

Postby Granmaa » Fri May 03, 2019 5:24 am

Exeter-hallmarked picture backs (excluding shells and flowers) are very rare indeed. I've seen one other: a double-headed eagle by Roger Berry Symons of Plymouth.

Miles

mk209
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Re: Unusual Transitional Fancy back Spoon

Postby mk209 » Fri May 03, 2019 6:32 am

Wow I realised when I saw it for sale it was rare but didn’t realise that rare! If only I could part with these things, but alas I’m a collector and much to my wife’s dismay the collection grows continuously.......

(admin edit - see Posting Requirements )

Matt.


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